We wished to ascertain to what extent patients had given informed consent to their medications. Therefore, 68 long-term psychiatric in-patients were interviewed about their knowledge and attitudes towards their medications.
Two-thirds of patients did not know the purpose of their medication; one-tenth knew about the side-effects. Longer length of stay, older age and voluntary status were associated with less knowledge. Despite poor knowledge, most patients accepted their treatment. However, few realised that they had any choice.
The prevalence of true informed consent is low among this group and raises issues about patients' rights.
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